There are two ways of understanding the notion of play: playing cards, dominos, checkers; or the play of a mechanical part when it is loose in its housing. I think, in fact, that the second is the angle from which we should envision play today. Play is not something that brings pleasure; on the contrary, it expresses a shift in reality, an unaccustomed mobility with respect to reality. To play today, in a certain sense, means to choose between two realities. A concrete factual reality: meet someone, love that person, make love to that person. Or, the game reality: use the technologies of cybersex to meet that person from a distance, without touching or risk of contamination, contact without contact.
What is at play in this case is an illness different from that associated with traditional games and provoked by chance. Gamblers canât do without chanceâthey are addicted to it and canât break the habit. I believe that alongside those addicted to chance, to roulette, to cards, or to any game, a new kind of addict is forming: the addict of the virtual. People who canât do without virtuality will become hooked on virtuality and will find themselves in an awkward position, torn between these two realities. We can see it on Wall Street and in the stock markets, already casinos where the "traders" or "golden boys" play with the virtuality of international markets which are increasingly disconnected from the economic reality of the world.